Hello everyone. Looks like I found a job. It's only a temporary job but at least it involves IT. It's not game related but I'm not sure I should put it in the lounge but since it's job-dynamics related I guess I'll drop it there.
I have to give really bad news to my boss and I'd like advice on how to do that "professionally".
Albeit it's only a temporary job, I won't disclose details; hopefully this is not going to be an issue there since the question is mostly about business dynamics rather than anything else my elaborations below are mainly to let you understand my current mindset and problem perception.
As a start, I've only been there for slightly more than a month and everything went fine so far. About three weeks ago, I was introduced to a certain program (The Program). Since two weeks ago, I have been given the task to evaluate The Program with regards to some of its features. I'll have to discuss The Program next week.
Deploying The Program to end users is apparently a priority (at least in terms of marketing), nonetheless, it so far slipped through the cracks by a few months and it's still far from being integrated in the business practice. AFAIK, The Program had no more than a couple of deployments so far, both in quite specific scenarios. I suspect the open position I'm filling is meant to hold someone dealing specifically with The Program, as the officially appointed "expert" isn't really taking this being already overworked (he has a business role that allows him to pull off the task).
In the past, I have never been scared from being the harbinger of bad news but considering my previous experiences, I've come to the conclusion I have to reconsider at least my methodologies in doing so. I need suggestions on how am I supposed to bring out this issue. Calling it an issue is rather reductive in my opinion: I've dealt with crashes, general instability, incoherent UI, missing input sanification, overreliance on end-user correctness, missing documentation, lacking support, systematic bugs... I could go on forever! And don't even get me started on licensing, Vendor itself seems to have lost grasp on it!
I found so many issues I started to ask myself about the developer studio so I went to google to find a very minimal amount of hits. Trends also informed me about a very low search volume, a thing which I find in stark contrast to the concept of a globally established leader solution. I understand business-oriented software is not really such a big hot topic but I guess there should be some more hits. Am I worrying too much? Do I have to recalibrate my scale of things?
I'm therefore inclined to believe this vendor is selling fry-ware. Because if we start deploying this, we're fried. Sure thing: developer has no QA (nor people doing debugging, much less architecture).
Of course, since we deploy it to end users, we take responsibility on that and given its general instability and fragility to slip errors, I'd say
- It's high business risk: component is critical to end user business
- Probably not profitable: maintenance requires super extra special care, even license management itself is something to be performed with care.
So my personal opinion is that The Software should be ditched in favor of something that actually works or proprietary solution.
I mean, what's the reason to sell it? We're basically selling the licenses for this other company. Sure, we might get some benefit but at what cost? If we get even a single on-site support call per year (remote management will be unlikely) our margins are going to suffer massively.
According to my colleagues, "we're pushing it because all other competitors are doing the same". Sure thing. But what has the end user to gain? He as to pay. He as this extra layer of complexity. He has to be more careful than he already is when doing his daily activities. And that supposing the software works fine.
Of course I am not in the position of saying the whole policy over the last few months is to be scrapped. But I couldn't get along either and not expose the risks. How could I convey this message in a business-appropriate way?
Honestly, I don't want to support The Program either because that means I would be responsible to keep it working and explain the many bugs to end users by inventing stupid excuses. To further exacerbate the issue, I think I could write something equivalent (for most basic tasks) in no more than 6 man months, not to mention it would fit with company's core business perfectly.
General advice on the situation is also appreciated.